ANNAPOLIS (March 3, 2011) The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is ending the Limited Crab Catcher (LCC) commercial license buyback program after retiring nearly 700 LCC licenses in about a year and a half. DNR is no longer offering to purchase LCC licenses as of March 11.
"The Chesapeake Bay blue crab is part of what makes us Marylanders," said DNR Secretary John Griffin. "With the support of Senator Mikulski and blue crab disaster funds, we were able to reduce the amount of latent licenses with this buyback.
The program reduced the number of commercial crabbing licenses in order to ensure effective management of a sustainable blue crab fishery. Last year, DNR's winter dredge survey showed a dramatic 60 percent increase in Chesapeake Bays blue crab population.
"A key part of Marylands crab restoration strategy has been to protect the full-time watermen. This effort to reduce the potential for inactive commercial crabbers to reenter the fishery will allow full-time watermen to benefit from their tenacity during the rebuilding process, said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom OConnell. The purchase and retirement of these licenses also enhances management certainty and reduces the possibility of exceeding the target harvest.
DNR bought back LCC licenses for $2,360 beginning in August 2009. Funding for the program came from a Federal Blue Crab Fishery Disaster Grant, which was secured through the efforts of Senator Barbara Mikulski with assistance from the Maryland Congressional Delegation. The funds were issued by NOAAs National Marine Fisheries Service.
Any LCC license holder wishing to sell their license to the state may do so at any DNR Licensing Center until 4:30 p.m. on March 11. No paperwork claiming to accept DNRs offer to buy an LCC license will be valid after this time.